Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Thwack, crack, clack: The sounds of spring

There's a reason I talk to Rick Vaughn several times a week, and not only because he’s the PR director of the Tampa Bay Rays and I'm trying to keep up to date on the latest happenings with the local nine.

It's also because Vaughn is a baseball fan, which you would expect from someone in his position. Conversations about what to expect on the trade or free agent front often end with two baseball fans talking baseball.

On Tuesday, the conversation ended with us discussing some of our favorite sounds.

The “thwack, thwack, thwack” of pitchers throwing off the row of bullpen mounds during the first days of spring training.

The “crack, crack, crack” of a wooden bat smacking a baseball on a distant field generated by position players who reported early and are working out on their own.

The sound of players' spikes scraping the sidewalk that separates the spring training clubhouse from the practice field.

“Clack, clack, clack.”

In a teleconference with actor Kevin Costner a few months ago to promote his appearance at the Rays' change-the-name-and-logo party, Costner said the “clack, clack, clack” was one of his favorite sounds. It took him back to when he was a kid trailing his dad to semipro games near their California home.

It’s right up there with “thwack, thwack, thwack” and “crack, crack, crack.”

They are the sounds of pitchers and catchers reporting to Florida.

They're almost here.

I can’t wait.

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